From Shirley Jackson and Tananarive Due, to V. Castro and Carmen Maria Machado, women have laid the foundation of the modern horror novel. Follow these ladies (and more) through spine-tingling tales of possession, real-life murder, haunted houses, ghosts, time travel and all of your horror favorites.
Goddess of Filth by V. Castro
Fernanda, Lourdes, Ana, Perla and Pauline hold a seance to pass the time on a hot Texas night, but things go off the rails when Fernanda starts crawling around the room and speaking an ancient Aztec language. Brujeria meets The Craft in this terrifying, sincere depiction of friendship, womanhood, culture and feminism.
Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
A group of friends is terrorized while celebrating a wedding in a centuries-old Japanese mansion. Come for the gorgeous prose, stay for the horrifying imagery.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A scholar of the supernatural brings a group of strangers into a notorious home to investigate the paranormal events that dot the home’s violent history. This is perhaps the most iconic haunted house story ever written.
The Fervor by Alma Katsu
When a mysterious disease sweeps through a Japanese internment camp in World War II-era Idaho, Meiko Briggs must do what she can to protect her daughter – and herself. But all of that comes to a halt when she discovers something much more sinister below the surface.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Journalist Michelle McNamara expertly weaves together the tales of 50 victims and her own painstaking research with depth and sensitivity. This is a real-life horror story and must-read for any follower of true crime.
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
When her mother Alice goes missing on their farmstead, Ruthie must look to the past for clues – which she finds in a diary from 1908 that’s been stuffed under the floorboards. The past meets the present in this chilly tale.
I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
A doctor investigating a woman’s suicide discovers that she was obsessed with his missing son. At the same time, unexplained events plague three friends when they decide to renovate an isolated house. Find out what happens when their paths cross in this supernatural thriller.
The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado, illustrated by DaNi
In this gorgeous queer horror graphic novel, teenagers El and Vee investigate the lost memories of the residents of their hometown – and discover something much darker than they could have imagined.
The Return by Rachel Harrison
When Julie goes missing and mysteriously reappears out of the blue after two years, her friends decide to reunite the gang at a quirky new hotel in upstate New York. But her best friend Elise knows better – whatever returned may look like Julie, but it’s not the Julie she loves.
Bunny by Mona Awad
MFA candidate Samantha finds out just how close is too close when she gets swept up in a cult-like clique of girls from her writing workshop who only call each other “Bunny.”
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
After receiving a frantic letter from her cousin, glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada travels to a mysterious house in the Mexican countryside to check on her. What she finds is much more unwelcoming and unsettling than she could have ever anticipated.
Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan
Life on a picture-perfect block on Long Island is upended when a massive sinkhole starts to eat away the neighborhood, both literally and figuratively.
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Butler expertly blends terror and science fiction in this novel, a story about Dana, a Black woman who is pulled through time between 1970s California and 1800s Maryland.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
This is a fresh retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. The horror is atmospheric and environmental in this tight novella.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
Devon comes from a long line of people who consume books instead of food. But when her son is born to feed instead on human minds, she has to do whatever she can to save him from a terrible fate.
Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester
When a killer known as The Cur brutally murders young women 15 years after his last attacks, a mother and daughter find themselves in the middle of the wreckage. This is a fierce and biting depiction of womanhood.
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
A young couple find trouble in their new home in this thrilling take on the classic haunted house story filled with dread and psychological terror.
From Below by Darcy Coates
Sixty years after the SS Arcadia vanished without a trace, its wreckage is mysteriously discovered. But something else is lurking below the surface. And it’s hungry.